tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS November 6, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
>> pelley: tonight, the next president of the united states. you're looking at him. the campaign ends and now the voters are making their choice. >> tell them your address at the desk and they'll tell you the go. >> pelley: the final polls are tight. we'll have reports from the swing states that will tip the balance. in the hurricane zone, voting is held in tents. and we'll ask the candidates about the great divide. why have we become a red country and a blue country? comprehensive election-night coverage from our campaign 2012 team begins now. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news"
with scott pelley. reporting tonight from cbs news election headquarters. >> pelley: good evening. there is no more important day on the american calendar than this one: election day. voters in every state are choosing a president after one of the tightest races ever. in just a few hours, we could know whether barack obama will get a second term or whether mitt romney will be the next president. we've been talking to voters all day long all over america as they left the polls today and 52% told us that the country on the wrong track. 46% said the country is headed in the right direction. and that's more than twice as many as the last time we asked four years ago. when we asked which quality in a ancandidate is most important to them, 29% said a vision for the future. 28% said shares my values. 20% cares about me. and 19% said the most important quality in a candidate is that he is a strong leader. our entire campaign 2012 team is covering this election night.
first we'll go to jan crawford in boston with the romney campaign. jan? >> reporter: well, scott, after 17 months of campaigning, that hard fought primary, and then, of course, the bruising general election battle, governor romney and his wife ann cast their votes this morning here in massachusetts. then governor romney was off for a little more campaigning trying to get every possible vote. he went to ohio and pennsylvania. here's what he said when he met with some campaign workers in that must-win state of ohio. >> we f we get folks out to vote we'll have the real change we need in this country and i'm so excited about the prospects. i've got to tell you, i'm buoyed by the spirit of the people across the nation. the enthusiasm, the support, the energy. >> we love you, man! >> thank you. (cheers and applause). >> reporter: that, of course, is the key if they can get their supporters out to vote. campaign sources i'm talking to say they're encouraged by what they're seeing. they have big turnout, their
numbers will outperform what john mccain did in 2008 but they are concerned about the numbers they're seeing for the president, particularly in places like virginia, florida and, ohio. of course, scott, it's that turnout need will make the difference tonight. >> pelley: jan, thank you. now we'll switch to nancy cordes in chicago covering the obama campaign. nancy? >> reporter: scott, the president spent the entire day here in chicago. he did about a dozen satellite interviews with local t.v. stations from battleground states then he visited a campaign office where he dialed up workers and volunteers in other cities to thank them for everything that they've done. while he was there he told reporters he's feeling confident. >> i'm looking forward to the results and i expect that we'll have a good night but no matter what happens i just want to say how much i appreciate everybody who's supported me, everybody who's work so hard on my behalf and, again, i want to congratulate governor romney and his team for a hard-fought race as well. >> reporter: after that, the president hit the basketball
court with aides and family and friends. it's an election-day tradition of his. we're told the president's team won by about 20 points. and while campaign officials don't expect a blowout like that tonight, they tell me they're feeling very good about the numbers that they're seeing. no big surprises here one aide told me, scott. >> pelley: nancy, thank you. as we mentioned, we've been talking to voters as they left the polls all day today and anthony mason in studio 57 will be following these exit polls for us tonight. anthony, what do you know so far? >> reporter: scott, throughout the night we'll keep an eye on the nine battleground states you see on the board behind me here. we wanted to begin with a snapshot of the national mood no surprise, the economy the number one issue among voters. 60%. health care was a distant second. unemployment was the biggest concern about the economy and, what's interesting, is 39% of the people in our exit poll, the voters we talked to told us they see the economy as getting better. that is number that's been inching up bit by bit in our national polls in recent months.
still 31% say it's getting worse, 28% say it's the same. president obama spent a lot of time in new jersey dealing with the response to hurricane sandy. 41% of the voters we talked to said that was an important factor in how they cast their vote. most people had already made up their minds. only 8% told us that they made up their minds in the last few days. 11% said they made up their minds in october. but fully almost 80%, scott, they had decided who to vote for before that. >> pelley: anthony, thanks very much. let's bring in our chief washington correspondent and anchor of "face the nation" bob schieffer and the coanchor of cbs "this morning," norah o'donnell. bob, too close to call? what do you think? >> i tell you, scott, what i draw from this first wave of exit polls it just underlines why the election has been so hard to figure out as it has from the beginning. the data is simply contradictory. for example, our exit polling has some good news for the president. 43% believe the president's policies favor the middle-class.
52% believe governor romney's policies favor the rich. yet 53% believe the federal government is doing too much while only 41% believe it should be doing more. so that should be good news for governor romney. and listen to this: on health care, 26% want to repeal the president's plan. but 25% want to expand it. this just tells you what we knew going in. the country is deeply divided, scott. we're going to be here for a while tonight. >> pelley: a divided nation. norah, what are you looking for? >> that's right, a divided nation. we know one of the biggest head winds facing the president has been the state of this economy with unemployment at 7.9%. one of the things the president is trying to build on is the democrat graphic changes in this country, the ones that propelled him to victory in 2008. first, young voters. the president wants them to come out in the same way they did in 2008, the 18 to 29 demographic. they were 18% of the electorate
and he won them by 66%. he's also looking for support from college educated white voters, and that demographic was 35% of the electorate in 2008 and he won 47% of their vote. so he'd like to come close to these numbers this time. but the other key to the obama coalition, scott, is the minority vote, particularly african americans and hispanic voters. remember, president obama won in 2008 by boosting their participation. we've seen minority voters grow from 17% of the electorate in 1996 to 26% in 2008. look at that growth. the obama team is betting that it will go even higher. they're certainly hoping that tonight. >> pelley: thank you, norah. now, of course, we keep talking about these nine battleground state bus there are 50 states in the union, after all. our cbs news political director john dickerson is our man at the map. john, what about the 41 other states? >> that's right. we talk about the battleground states.
for months we've been going through them and we'll be following them minute by minute tonight. but what about the other 41? let's take a look at the map. as we're walking, we'll refresh ourselves about our government class which taught us we don't directly for the president, we vote for electors and each state has many electors as they do members of congress. well, in those 41 states, cbs news has determined based on the polls that those states are likely to go to one candidate or the other. so let's start with president obama. he is likely to get 237 electoral votes. that comes from states like california and new york which traditionally go for the democrat. governor romney starts or is likely to get 191 electoral votes. that comes from states like texas and georgia. after you distribute those 41 states, that leaves us with the nine we've been talking about: nevada, colorado, iowa, wisconsin, iowa, new hampshire, virginia, north carolina and florida. that's where the competition will be tonight because those states it's just too close and so now we wait.
>> pelley: john, thank you. the biggest of those battleground states are florida, ohio, and virginia. and that is where the candidates have been spending a lot of time since the republican convention. the obama-biden ticket in blue and the romney-ryan ticket in those red dots you see there. we have correspondents in all three of those states tonight and first dean reynolds is in the birthplace of seven american presidents, the state of ohio. dean? >> reporter: good evening, scott, from the statehouse in columbus. you know, ohio started voting early, five weeks ago and 1,787,000 people took advantage of that opportunity, the highest number in the state's history. we noticed today as well that a lot of people are casting provisional ballots, they go to people whose address doesn't match their registration or who requested an absentee ballot
from the state but never got around to sending it back in. those provisional ballots could provide a dilemma because they need to be validated and they are not counted until november 17 so a close race could keep us waiting around for several days after the election and that could provide a window of opportunity for lawyers who are descending on this state, scott, and may see this race go into the courts. >> pelley: and ohio could very well tip the balance for one candidate or the other tonight, dean. thank you very much. virginia, the birthplace of eight american presidents, has 13 electoral votes. the polls close in the commonwealth of virginia at the top of the hour and wyatt andrews is there tonight. wyatt? >> reporter: scott, this is the george mason university student center in fairfax, virginia. and this one key question tonight in this key state is who wins the youth vote. that is voters under age 35. it was almost five years ago in
this very atrium that the students here staged an electrifying rally for the then-unknown senator barack obama. that rally helped energize the students for obama movement nationwide and helped obama win virginia. but now fast forward to just yesterday when mitt romney was the rock star on this very same campus. 5,000 people came to hear him in the basketball arena with several thousand people listening to him from the outside. tonight the obama campaign says it owns the numbers of young voters, the romney campaign says it owns young voters' enthusiasm. and the extent to which young voters will either stay in or quit the obama coalition, scott, that could be decisive tonight in this razor-thin fight for battleground virginia. >> pelley: wyatt, thank you. now, the biggest of the swing states is florida with 29 electoral votes and we have elaine quijano there tonight. elaine? >> reporter: good evening, scott. we're at a viewing party on the
campus of the university of south florida in tampa. this is part of the i-4 corridor, an area that is evenly split between republicans and democrats. but it is also home to a large number of independent voters. this county, hillsboro county, is a significant bellwether. since 1960, voters in this county have picked the winning presidential candidate in every election except for 1992 when they picked george h.w. bush. now, as for today there have been no reports of any major problems at the polls here in florida. however, there have been some extremely long lines, people waiting upwards of three hours in miami-dade county. now, elections officials tell us that is due in part to the long ballots here in florida. for instance, in hillsboro county it is six pages. those voter lines, though, could actually have been much longer but some 4.5 million people here in florida actually cast their
ballots early and, scott, that's about 38% of registered voters here. >> pelley: and so difficult for mitt romney to win tonight without winning florida. elaine, thank you very much. cbs news coverage of election night with our entire campaign 2012 team begins immediately after this broadcast at 7:00 p.m. eastern time. now, everyone knows election day is always tuesday, but we wondered why. our research department tells us that congress set that day by law in 1845 and congress reasoned that it would take a man on horseback a day to reach the county seat in order to vote. now, that voter couldn't travel on the christian sabbath, sunday, and he would have to be back for the farmer's market in his town, which was traditionally on wednesday. and that is why we vote on tuesday. nothing will stop some people from voting, not even hurricane
sandy. their story is next when the "cbs evening news" continues. to compete on the global stage. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone's ready with the know how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready. make sure you're ready. at devry.edu/knowhow. ♪ ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] choose the same brand your mom trusted for you. children's tylenol, the #1 brand of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians and used by moms decade after decade. of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians
>> pelley: in new york today the mayor urged residents ravage bid sandy to get out. a nor'easter is headed up the coast. low-lying areas may flood again and, of course, it will hamper efforts to restore power to more than 900, 000 homes and businesses in the northeast. than 900, 000 homes and businesses in the northeast. the death toll from the storm rose today to 121.
but sandy could not wipe out election day. jim axelrod is in hoboken, new jersey. >> sandy didn't stop me from voting! >> reporter: nothing would stop nelly moreno from voting. four feet of water swept through her neighborhood in hoboken last week. at any point did you think "forget it, this year i'm not voting "? >> no. on the contrary. it motivated me to come out. >> reporter: volunteers scrubbed all weekend to get the polls ready. 800 polling places were without power in new jersey saturday. today it's fewer than a hundred. this mobile voting precinct delivered mail-in ballots along the jersey shore. on staten island, some votes were cast by flashlight. >> here to vote? come on in! >> reporter: new york and new jersey voters displaced by the storm can vote at any polling place. that contributed to long lines and some confusion. i thought people were supposed to be able to vote wherever they
wanted. >> yeah, it's not happening. >> reporter: but maureen mcdonald was grateful to vote inside this tent in far rockaway new york. >> it makes me feel proud to be an american that during a disaster like this we can still vote for our president. >> reporter: down the street, the national guard handed out supplies. roughly 861,000 customers are still without power in new york and new jersey. the coastal storm due here tomorrow could bring 55 mile per hour wind gusts and heavy snow that could bring down more trees and power lines. to prepare for that storm, scott, new york's mayor bloomberg has issued an order closing all of the city's parks and beaches effective noon tomorrow. >> pelley: jim, thank you. what are the chances tonight that the republicans can take control of the senate? we'll have a look at that cominv up next. ask your gastroenterologist about humira adalimumab. humira has been proven to work for adults
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montana. now let's take a look at the house of representatives. every two years all 435 seats in the house come up for election. currently there are 242 republicans, 193 democrats. in order for democrats to take back control of the house, they would need to win 25 seats. we've talked to a number of democrats privately who say that's going to be all but impossible for them so it looks like republicans will control the house, but the makeup of the chamber could well change. currently there are 27 hispanics in the house of representatives. cbs news estimates democrats could grow their number to 27. republicans could get the nine. that means a record 36 hispanics could join the house of representatives in january. and, scott, one final vote: roughly $3 billion has been spent on congressional races this year and despite that large sum of money, the balance of power will likely stay the same. >> pelley: byron, thank you very much. whoever is elected president, this is where he will watch the
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>> pelley: finally tonight, a lot of folks wonder why the country is so evenly divided and they've grown tired of that have division sopping progress in washington. we wondered how the candidates themselves would explain the sharp, narrow line between republican red and democratic blue. why have we become a red country and a blue country? >> we have gone through a very difficult passage and that means that sometimes politics gets a little more heated, passions rise. and, you know, i think what americans are looking for, it's not so much that they're divided
ideologically, i think they just want to see us make progress and do what works. how wil>> pelley: how will anytg change in washington if all the players change, including yourself? >> i think it's important to point out that even with all the back-and-forth that's taken place this year, we've gotten a lot of stuff done. so my sense is is that the message that will be sent by voters this time out if i'm reelected will be we're not satisfied with the pace of progress but we do think that the ideas the president has presented are the right ones and we'd like to see greater cooperation. i don't expect that i will get 100% cooperation, but 50%, 60% wouldn't be bad. >> pelley: why do you think we've become a red country and a blue country? >> well, i think there's a lot of divisiveness in the political process. but i think what's happening is over the last while there have become a serious divisions on
personal attacks and character assassination that are think are unfortunate and draw people into a level of emotion that's really disappointing and disheartening. i want to bring americans together. i recognize that americans united are able to accomplish almost anything. i know when i get elected in washington i'm not likely to have a supermajority republican house and senate. that's not likely. (laughs) i'm going to have to work with people on both sides of the aisle. i've done that. i will do everything in my power to get america strong again. but i can only do that if i'm willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle, not just my own. >> pelley: the first of the polls will be closing at the top of the hour and our entire campaign 2012 team will be right here to begin our election night coverage. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley at cbs news election headquarters. see you in a minute.
captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh. election day 2012, our team's reporters standing by right now with the latest on the local, state and federal races, polls in virginia are closing right now. we start seeing some results from there in this broadcast. over the next half hour, we'll have live reports from chicago and boston on the obama and romney campaigns. we'll also -- we're also -- we'll also have the latest on the richmond kaiine.